Manotick, ON.

The name is Objibway for “Island in the River”, given to the town in 1859 by its founder Moss Kent Dickinson.

Population? 4,486 (2016).

So who is this Moss Kent Dickinson? He was a Canadian business man, and mayor of Ottawa from 1864 to 1866. He had entered into a partnership in Bytown (Ottawa) with lumberman Joseph Merrill Currier. They decided to purchase the land adjacent to the Long Island in the Rideau River along with water rights.

Fun fact: There once was a Village of Long Island not far from Manotick, near the Long Island Locks that was active until Moss Kent Dickinson built the mill…We found an interesting article about the supposed vanishing of this village which you can find here. Long Island Locks are not to be confused with the Long Island Ice Tea or the TV show Long Island Medium… But maybe the Long Island Medium isn’t far off (see quick facts below regarding Manotick & Watson’s Mill).


Manotick was actually one of the later developed communities along the Rideau, developing in the 1830s near the Long Island Locks, north of today’s Manotick. Dickinson and Currier built a saw mill and a grist mill which attracted settlers, including many from the former community on Long Island. Manotick thrived on the commercial river traffic

Watson’s Mill, photo courtesy of Watson’s Mill.


Unfortunately, as the traffic declined, so did Manotick with the population decreasing to about 300 from 400 by the early 1950s. It was a quiet rural village, but by 1970 people realized the great combination of people working in Ottawa, living in Manotick. Boom, new suburban development! Manotick’s amalgamation into the expanded City of Ottawa was made official in 2001.

Manotick offers much more than way back when now with the Dickinson Square Conservation Area, restaurants, marinas, shopping area, and golf courses.

Quick facts:

  •  Manotick Main Street was the original Highway 16, the main route from Ottawa to Prescott.. the paving of the highway and the arrival of hydro in the 1920s was a memorable period in it’s history.
  • Dickson Square Conservation Area hosts Watson’s Mill, a 1860s grist and flour mill built by Moss Kent Dickinson & Joseph Currier… it still continues to grind flour today using the same technology that existed when it opened! Watson’s Mill is also a museum and historical centre celebrating Manotick & it’s history.
  •  Currier’s second wife, Ann Crosby, tragically died when her dress caught in part of the machinery and threw her into a nearby wooden pillar at the Mill’s first anniversary on March 11, 1861. Currier turned away from Manotick after this, and Dickinson bought out his share of the milling enterprise.
  • There are claims that Ann’s spirit has not left Watson’s Mill… it is said that on dreary days she can still be seen staring out the second-floor windows. Others, claimed to hear lady-like footsteps coming from the second floor even though nobody is upstairs, along with people swearing they have been grabbed by unseen hands on the stairs. Watson Mill states “perhaps it is Ann ensuring no one else shares her fate.”

Maybe you will have to see Manotick to believe it. A lot of towns start with mills and farms, and although Manotick was late to the party to develop, you wouldn’t think of it if you saw it.

Filed under: #ThisIsMyTown, This Is My Town